First post of 2014!!!
Sometimes a simple spell just is not enough. Sometimes, that damn village that ran you out of town because your barbarian is a half-orc needs to learn what for. Sometimes that pompous duchess who stiffed you after you slayed the local dragon needs to find out you’re not to be messed with. Sometimes, a simple spell is not enough – you need a Grand Curse!
Grand curses are not unlike normal spells in their overall effect, but they strike many more targets than a normal spell. Grand curses spread like plagues. They are cast on a single person and from that person affect all others with which they have contact. In this way, a grand curse can impact virtually every person in a village, town, castle or even kingdom. Grand curses are no more difficult than the normal spells they mimic, but their cost is much higher for the spellcaster.
A spellcaster can turn any spell he or she knows into a grand curse. To do so, they must know the spell the grand curse is to mimic, and they must be willing to sacrifice a pound of their own flesh, metaphorically. Each person affected by a grand curse costs the original spellcaster 10 experience points per level of the mimicked spell. Affected, in this case, means any creature forced to attempt a saving throw versus the spell. If a village of 100 people is affected, for example, by a sleep spell in the form of a grand curse, the spellcaster would lose 4,000 XP. These lost XP can force a spellcaster to lose a level, so when you unleash a grand curse, beware! In addition, the grand curse counts as a spell four levels higher than the spell it mimics.
In all cases, the spellcaster casts the grand curse at one initial victim. This person receives a normal saving throw, but at a -4 penalty. If they pass their saving throw, the grand curse fails. Otherwise, they suffer the effects of the spell with a permanent duration until dispelled with dispel magic spell or remove curse. Each person that sees or has some sort of contact with the victim of the grand curse while they are feeling its effects must succeed at a saving throw themselves or become a victim of the grand curse themselves. The effects of the grand curse affect a victim 1d6 turns (i.e. 10-60 minutes) after they fail their saving throw, so it is possible for the victims to move about quite a bit – all the better to spread the curse.
And before you ask – yes, grand curses must have a negative effect on their victims. No cursing people with cure light wounds!
The following are examples of grand curses.
Level: Magic-User 4
This grand curse mimics the sleep spell. Each person that sees a sleeping victim of the spell must pass a Will saving throw or fall to sleep themselves.
Level: Magic-User 8
This grand curse mimics the crushing despair spell. Each person that sees a weeping or otherwise saddened victim of the spell must pass a Will saving throw or fall into despair themselves.
Confusion of Tongues
Level: Magic-User 7
This grand curse mimics the garble spell. Each person that speaks with an addle-brained victim of the spell must pass a Will saving throw or become addle-brained themselves. The garble spell appears in The NOD Companion.
Level: Cleric 7
This grand curse mimics the cause disease spell. Each person that comes within 10 feet of a diseased victim of the spell must pass a Will saving throw or fall sick themselves.
Level: Magic-User 6
This grand curse mimics the hideous laughter spell. Each person that hears a laughing victim of the spell must pass a Will saving throw or laugh themselves.
Level: Magic-User 8
This grand curse mimics the confusion spell. Each person that comes within 10 feet of a confused victim of the spell must pass a Will saving throw or become confused themselves.
Plague of Accidents
Level: Magic-User 8
This grand curse mimics the fumble spell. Each person that sees a person drop something must pass a Will saving throw or become clumsy themselves. The fumble spell appears in The NOD Companion.
St Vitus’ Dance
Level: Magic-User 12
This grand curse mimics the irresistible dance spell. Each person that sees a dancing victim of the spell must pass a Will saving throw or dance themselves. Oh, and I know – there are no 12th level spells – but damn this would be cool. Maybe save it for an evil demigod.